First Time Letting a Hen Hatch an Egg

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by citychickinthecountry, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. This is my first time letting any of my hens hatch an egg. I have a Bantam Cochin that has been terribly broody, and I decided to let her try and hatch and egg and get it out of her system for a little while.

    She is stilling in a small coop (where the hens all usually lay their eggs). She has good ventilation, but is shielded from weather and drafts. I put a small food and water dish in the small coop with her.

    I try to make her get off the nest once a day to eat and drink (and sometimes she goes outside with the other chickens for about 10 minutes). I just want to make sure she doesn't dehydrate or go hungry (hence the food and water in the coop with her).

    Is there anything else that I need to do for her?

  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    Sounds like you're doing everything right.
    Your little broody will do the rest!
    Keeping food/water close by is always a good idea.

    Sometimes it seems they NEVER get off the nest (but they do when they absolutely HAVE to).
    I would not worry about removing her from her nest; she'll get off when she's ready.
    Hens tend to go into a zen-like state when they're brooding eggs and I would not disrupt that.
    She brings herself out of this state, then she gets off the eggs to go relieve herself.

    Make sure the other hens do not have access to her nest since they will want to lay their eggs there and your broody will steal those eggs and end up trying to hatch thousands.
    (Been there, done that.)

    Good luck! And do post pics when the chicks hatch!!

  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    What AlienChick said.

    I try to mark the eggs I'm allowing a broody hen to hatch, so I can tell when she has stolen eggs or other hens have laid eggs in her nest when she's off it. Otherwise there will be eggs not hatching at the same time, and shell abandon them when the first chicks hatch. OR she might stay on the nest for the rest of the eggs and not care for the earlier hatchlings (but that is more rare).

    You ARE doing everything right except as AlienChick mentioned, you don't need to take her off the nest - especially since you are keeping food and water near her.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  4. keds45

    keds45 In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2011
    I did this with my Australorp this fall, I bought her some fertile eggs to sit on as I didn't have any luck trying to break her of her broodiness, and I was starting to worry that she might starve herself! I put her in a separate coop (actually my eglu) with the eggs. She plunked right down and got to work. I tried to shoo her off the nest every 2-3 days if I hadn't seen her up and about just to make sure she was eating and drinking. Probably that wasn't necessary!! 20 days later 2 of 4 eggs hatched and she has been a great mom! I kept them separate from the rest of the flock for a few weeks until (as recommended by more experienced BYCers I opened the run door to let them out--she was very protective and all went fine!

    Have fun! My friend has a bantam cochin--the cutest thing! I bet she'll do great--I've read they're great moms!
  5. Thanks all for the advice and input. =D

    My Cochin is the only hen that wants to sit. I used to have a Silkie that wanted to sit, but she was killed a while back by a hawk. =(

    I figured, what the heck. Our winter is really mild this year (Central Florida), and this poor hen wants to sit so bad. Whatever happens will happen. =D

    This egg should hatch (if it does) on 2/26. I can't wait to see what happens.

    The funny thing is that this hen is hatching her sister's egg. She is a surrogate hen, I suppose.
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Hens and pullets really don't care whose eggs they hatch. They often steal eggs from other hens, too.

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